Integration and creative experiences after a merger of two organizations within the Social Insurance Service: A longitudinal group perspective
Sammanfattning: Mergers of organizations are a widespread phenomenon in the public as well as in the private sector. The individual and the organizational outcomes are dependent on the success of the integration process. During the integration after a merger, a cross-fertilization of ideas, working methods etc. is possible and could pave the way for creative processes. The aim of the present thesis is to analyze and gain a better understanding of the integration process and to investigate the realization of the creative potential after the merger of two organizations within the Swedish Social Insurance Service. This merger was investigated in four studies before and during the integration of the organizations with a focus on the head offices. In Study I, the organizational cultures were captured through the employees’ attachment of meaning to the two original organizations before the merger by means of a two-stage design combining the repertory grid method and a semantic differential. It was found that the employees’ interpretations of the organizations were mainly structured in a general climate factor. Employees from the two original organizations agreed in their evaluation of one of the organizations as having a climate that could be interpreted as more positive than that of the other organization. Study II investigated activities, interactions and creative experiences in a work unit in the newly merged head office by means of experience sampling. Heterogeneous (with reference to organizational background) interactions were found to have less creative experiences as compared to other interactions. In Study III, the team climate for innovation was examined in four work units at the new head office. The Team Climate Inventory showed that about one year after the merger the climate in the merged work units was perceived as less socially integrated than in a sample of Swedish organizations in general. Study IV examined the organizational culture of the new, merged organization about one and a half years after the merger and compared it to the results of Study I. It was found that in the climate dimension one of the original organizations had been dominating in the integration process. Employees from the other original organization evaluated the climate as more authoritarian and controlling in the new, merged organization. The results of the four studies taken together and the connection between the integration process and the realization of the creative potential are discussed.
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